One for the future, Kings fans.
The Kings announced this afternoon that the organization has signed forward Koehn Ziemmer, a third-round selection by the club during the 2023 NHL Draft, to a three-year, entry-level contract.
Ziemmer is currently with the WHL’s Prince George Cougars and is averaging 1.5 points-per-game, with 24 points from 16 games played. Ziemmer is expected to remain there through the end of the 2023-24 season, with a club that is currently leading the B.C. Division and is primed to make a run in the WHL playoffs. Ziemmer should also contend for a spot on Team Canada’s World Juniors roster during this winter’s tournament as one of 27 forwards invited to the summer team meetings. The Kings have shown a track record of being able to sign players to entry-level contracts earlier on and slide the deals back to when the player eventually begins his professional career. A good sign to get him locked up here this fall, off a strong start to the season at the major-junior level.
This isn’t a move that will impact the Kings right now, but a move that should hopefully benefit the group down the road.
Ziemmer was a player who was generally ranked higher via external rankings than where the Kings got him. In speaking with Mark Yannetti after the draft, Ziemmer is a player who had several high-caliber gifts that the Kings coveted. Shooting and scoring, playmaking ability, offensive awareness and physicality. He was also a player who they felt needed to improve his skating and who needed to train more effectively away from the ice, to better proportion his body to prepare to play at the NHL level. Should those two things sort themselves out, though, there was a potential for an underrated gem in the third round, when considering that the areas the Kings saw improvement in are areas that can large in part be corrected. Ziemmer, even as he stood in Nashville during the draft, can be an impactful prospect for the organization going forward and the Kings did well to lock him up now, with plenty of time to spare.
Looking ahead, Ziemmer is still just 18-years-old and has this season plus next season remaining of WHL eligibility, but should also be eligible to play in the AHL should the Kings opt for that path for his development. Since he turns 20-year-old before December 31, Ziemmer would be eligible to play in the AHL next season, should the Kings choose that route for him, but he would also be eligible to play again in the WHL. Ziemmer would not be eligible for next season’s World Juniors squad, so he’s got one chance to make that team in a month’s time. Still early in his development process, but a player that we’ll continue to keep an eye on as he continues forward.
From the team’s official release –
The second Kings player chosen in the 2023 NHL Draft (third round, 78th overall), Ziemmer has skated in 16 games with the Prince George Cougars of the Western Hockey League (WHL) this season, recording seven goals and 17 assists for 24 points with a plus-3 rating. The 6-1, 194-pound forward played his second season with the Prince George Cougars in the 2022-23 campaign, where he registered 89 points (41-48=89) in 68 games, marking his second consecutive 30-plus goal season (30G in 2021-22). Ziemmer’s 41 goals ranked second on the Cougars and seventh among all WHL skaters.
The Mayerthorpe, Alberta native added seven points (3-4=7) in 10 WHL playoff games with the Cougars last season. In 176 career WHL games, Ziemmer has tallied 182 points (87-95=182), averaging 1.03 points-per-game.